This morning, at 7:50 am, I got a call from Officer Ferguson, of “We’re gonna stick it to him” fame. She told me that she wanted to interview the property manager/landlord about the gum bandit case and needed to be let into the building. When I got there, she was holding an enlarged still of GB from our video. She said she’s been camping out in front of the building for the past few days around 4 pm, hoping to nab GB, but has thus far been unsuccessful. I warned her, “Just so you know, the landlord looks a lot like this guy, but it’s not him” (more on that later). I let her in and went to get ready for my 9:15 meeting. Before ten minutes had passed, I got a call back from Officer Ferguson. Apparently, she showed the picture to the landlord, and after studying it for a while, said, “That’s me. Those bikes aren’t supposed to be there, but I didn’t put gum on anyone’s bike. That looks a lot like me, and I can’t think of anyone else in the building who looks like that.” Surprised, she went back to her cruiser to call me and ask if I should fine him anyway. A. and I agreed that there was no way it could be him and told her to hold off.
Why don’t we think it’s him? Well, this isn’t the first idea this idea has been suggested. A. and I got the following Facebook message from E.K. the other day:
Evidence for landlord = GB:
- The landlord said it was him in the picture (but why would he admit to it but not the gumming if it really was him? A.’s theory is that it was very early, the officer probably woke him up, and he might not have been wearing his glasses).
- The landlord doesn’t know of anyone else in the building who looks like that, and he would know.
- The landlord has a motive: he told the police officer that bikes aren’t supposed to be parked out there.
- They are both older white men with similar cropped, graying hair
Evidence against landlord = GB:
- The landlord is cooperating with investigation: he offered his email address to the officer if she had any further questions.
- The landlord has only lived there for a year and the gumming started before that.
- The last bike gumming caught on the motion detecting camera happened in the image immediately BEFORE the landlord entered the frame. We caught this same shot on the DSLR, and the GB was wearing his usual maroon shirt (in the video) while the landlord was wearing a white polo (on the motion detector). However, we deleted the full video file, so it’s not clear how much time there was between the landlord walking by and the gum bandit striking.
- The landlord’s dog, Blake, has never been seen with GB. Why would he not take him on his constitutionals? E.K. said maybe Blake’s too old for long walks, but that would mean that he walks Blake, goes inside, changes into his maroon shirt, and goes back out to walk immediately after. Seems weird.
- When I saw him in the building, he was coming out of the elevator. Suggests that he lives upstairs.
- A. and I thought he drove an SUV, but landlord drives a tan hatchback.
Here’s a photo comparison:
Needless to say, this turn of events has sent shock waves across Prairie Street. Reactions have ranged from amazed disbelief from J. (the original GB victim)…
…to a near total mind melt (on my part). A. and I are currently sitting in front of the building waiting for GB to come out so we can call the police and for our 12 pack to cool down so we can make the most out of our stakeout.